The Social Realism in War and Peace

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The Social Realism in War and Peace

It is hard to truly understand the unbelievable detail and descriptions of Tolstoy’s writings without actually having read some of his work. Leo Tolstoy was a unique man with a different perspective on life and everything around us than anyone else. Influenced by the experience of fighting in the Crimean war, Leo Tolstoy composed his masterpiece, War and Peace, whose Victorian qualities included incredibly realistic descriptions which would inspire future authors and activists such as Mahatma Gandhi. As stated by Anne Marie Hacht, “In Tolstoy’s books you feel like you know the characters better than the people in your real life.” (Hacht)

The life of Tolstoy started off with an obvious shock that would influence him forever and that was the death of both of his parents by the time he was nine. (Byers) By the time he was twenty Tolstoy was questioning his meaning in this world and decided to join the army alongside his brother Nikolay, as a Junker or volunteer. (Merriman) For five years they traveled the southern edge of Russia, leading a “nomadic life” as Merriman described. All the while seeing “grisly scenes of battle” and bloody deaths that in the future would influence his writings in War and Peace. Another jolt to Tolstoy’s

reality was the death of his oldest brother Nikolay. Leo Tolstoy “revered him as saintly in their modesty, humility, and unwillingness to condemn or judge others”. This inevitability of life jolted him to the core and this is why death is such a common occurrence in most of his books. (Merriman)

Tolstoy’s legacy is set upon his writings in his novel War and Peace and the Victorian qualities he expressed in them. It has been called the “greatest novel ever written” by Paula K. Byers, most likely due to the amount of extreme detail in which Leo Tolstoy describes each character. (Byers) The depth in which Tolstoy reveals each character is unequal to any other author. (Hacht)...
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